“It may be that I’m wrong”. Thom Hartmann, the Thom Hartmann Show, responding to a caller re: his (Hartmann’s) former steadfast, adamantine, almost fanatical position on Peak Oil, 6/26/09.
Though few know it, because “Left” radio will never travel the path of looking past OpEdNews.com and AlterNet for their “news”, Hartmann was reacting to an article by F. (Frederick) William Engdahl a freelance journalist, historian, and economic researcher who grew up, ironically enough, given the subject here, in Texas. He then obtained a degree in engineering and jurisprudence from Princeton (1966) and conducted graduate study in comparative economics at the University of Stockholm, working as an economist and free-lance journalist in New York and Europe. Please note that two-time insertion of “freelance”. It’s crucial. It means Engdahl can’t be censored very easily.
In the 70s, Engdahl interested himself in the “oil shock” (think Naomi Klein) of the era and published his first book A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order, addressing a number of factors he saw as relevant to the coming Energy Wars. Central to his discussion was, oh look!, the 1979 overthrow of the Shah of Iran so that the U.S. and Britain could manipulate oil prices and, or so it was claimed, stop ideological Soviet expansion, communism, blah blah blah, woof woof woof – a move Western leaders well knew (though few “Lefties” understood it then or now) was aiming at capturing oil lands, were that possible. Anyone now professing puzzlement at our involvement in Afghanistan under a pretext of immense concern for terrorism (gratis CIA, MOSSAD, and MI6) might want to reconsider why that terrorism was genesised in the first place, flanking the oil fields as it does.
The model, according to Engdahl, was forwarded by Zbigniew Brzezinski and a gent named George Ball, a member of JFK’s cabinet who was swiftly marginalized in U.S, politics once he published The Passionate Attachment, a too-revealing critique of Israeli policies toward Arab neighbors, arguing that American support of Israel has forever been morally, politically, and financially far too expensive to ever warrant itself. Ball and his book were concerned about an Islamic Balkanization proposition initially forwarded by Dr. Bernard Lewis, another author and the coiner of the phrase “the clash of civilizations”. Lewis was and remains a highly regarded theorist regarding Islam and the Ottoman Empire, a man consulted, though the press was careful to hide the fact, by the Bush administration, as he’s been much prized by Dick Cheney, who commented that “his wisdom is sought daily by policymakers, diplomats, fellow academics, and the news media”. This, of course, was long after Lewis had shed his inconvenient Marxism. Such an impediment to getting ahead, doncha know. Lewis, however, is just a side note.
It should be understood that Ball was a member of the Trilateral Commission (after Jimmy Carter’s nomination of him), also a member of the Bilderbergers, a free trade advocate, and the whole Straussian nine yards. If you saw the 2002 HBO movie The Paths to War, you saw actor Bruce McGill portraying him in his opposition to the VietNam war during the Johnson administration. Ball’s middle name, by the way, was “Wildman” – yes, his christened name, and, yes, his personal positions were quite variegated and sophisticated though subordinated to basic conservatism, albeit of a stripe cleaving more to the newly reborn John Dean than Ronald Reagan and the scions of pure opportunism.
I give these antecedent events in order to provide insight into Engdahl and those whom the “Left” and Left too often miss in their mysterious anti-intellectualism regarding the all too real saliences of conspiracies and their players near and far.
Earlier in V.V., I wrote an article or two regarding the idea of abiogenesis and oil (even earlier than that, the subject was a central part of my attack on Michael Ruppert in OpEdNews.com, the very article I’ve many times mentioned that initiated publisher Rob Kall’s jihad against my work). Well, after much research, Engdahl came to the same conclusion some of the rest of us have: oil isn’t the result of dead dinosuarial animals, vegetation, zooplankton, and algae but rather – and here we enter into the theory I extrapolated when reading the available data much earlier – a natural process much like magma issuing from the core of the Earth. In reality, no one knows what the facts are, though the Russians were the first to scientifically posit a non-fossiliferous idea and are presently far ahead of the West in applying extrapolations of it to what can only be called incredible results slowly becoming the surprise and envy of world oil cartographers. Due to all this, Engdahl claims, as has Lindsay Williams for decades (his seminal The Energy Non-Crisis was a key text in my early conspiracy research materials) and as had Buckminster Fuller for different reasons, that Peak Oil is actually a political phenomenon. He made this more than evident in his 9/14/2007 article “Confessions of an ‘Ex’ Peak Oil Believer”, now being belatedly rediscovered by a very, very, very small klatsch of “Lefties” (interestingly, the True Left is ignoring it entirely, though it well accommodates their class analyses and ongoing war with the bourgeoisie).
The piece starts out with the at-first reassuring, then troublesome, and ultimately enigmatic “good news…that panic scenarios about the world running out of oil anytime soon are wrong” but that “the price of oil is going to continue to rise” and that “Dick Cheney and friends are all too willing to assist” in the phenomenon. Clearly, Engdahl understands his foes and was launching a pre-emptive strike against Swingin’ Dick the Face Shooter, the guy who made “the otherwise inexplicable decision…to risk all in a military move on Iraq”.
Engdahl then moves to history, trotting out the old saw that “[b]iological origin is central to Peak Oil theory, used to explain why oil is only found in certain parts of the world where it was geologically trapped millions of years ago”. Please note my emphasis there; it will be crucial near the end of this whole exposition. He moves quickly to show that true science and not that created at British Petroleum’s behest, has, since the early 50s in Russia, shown that the “biological origins theory is an unscientific absurdity that is un-provable”. Readers may recall my V.V. article pointing to that antithesis, looking at not only the continuing discovery of many more new oil fields but also a high percentage of such zones that shouldn’t be where they are. The Russians were aware of this, and it led to the “emergence of Russia…as the world’s largest oil producer and natural gas producer…based on the application of the [abiogenetic] theory in practice”. Engdahl calls that a matter of “geopolitical consequences of staggering magnitude”, and he’s absolutely correct; thus, expectedly, it has remained in the memory hole in the West.
Rather than adhere to capitalist (fascist) dogma, Russians began epistemologically, asking the very simple question “Where does oil come from?”, and, thus, in ’56, Prof. Vladimir Porfiryev discovered: “Crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the earth. They are primordial materials which have been erupted from great depths”, which seems to buttress my theory (which of course I got from the Russians, merely projecting it to a more logical conclusion). This was called “a-biotic” theory.
Here, though, is where their idea veers from mine. The Russians postulate that oil supply is limited only to the amount of hydrocarbon constituents present at the time of the earth’s formation. I postulate otherwise: that the Earth may well be creating it continually as a natural process… again, just like magma. It may even be that this process creates those hydrocarbons at will. I’m not a scientist and thus cannot go no further than that, but it’s significant that Engdahl noted that the availability of oil may now “depend only on technology to drill ultra-deep wells and explore into the earth’s inner regions”. His next statement more clearly rings in with mine, though he may not realize it: “old fields could be revived to continue producing, [sic] so called self-replentishing [sic] fields”. He followed on the Russians’ theory that oil is made through “very high pressure, like that required for diamonds to form”. Hm, the central element of a diamond is…carbon, so why couldn’t hydrocarbons experience some variation of what creates diamonds?
The Russians (Marxist in core ideology, we may recall) unsurprisingly had proven that Peak Oil has been “a hoax designed to perpetuate the myth of limited supply”, which put their propnency in league with Fuller’s Great Pirate & Grunch camps. The proof came with the pudding. Russians have discovered oil where Western “science” has claimed it was impossible to find it: the Dnieper-Donets Basin between Russia and Ukraine. Based on abioticism, the Russians “began with a detailed analysis of the tectonic history and geological structure of the crystalline basement” of the region through “tectonic and deep structural analysis”, then, satisfied they were correct in their guesswork, began geophysical and geochemical investigations. 61 wells were drilled. 37 were commercially productive, a success rate of almost 60%, far outstripping Western methods, where wildcat drilling is considered very successful if it achieves 10% in finds.
This ties in to what we’ve been seeing if we’ve been alert: a cooperative for pipelines and port links between Russia and Europe, China, and the remainder of Eurasia, as a:
“blatant US grab for the vast oil riches of Iraq and, potentially, of Iran…catalyzed closer cooperation between traditional Eurasian foes, China and Russia, and a growing realization in western Europe that their options…were narrowing”.
I’ve been saying privately to a number of other writers in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere that I foresee the next world war as beginning not in Iraq or Iran but rather as a result of what President Obama is continuing in Afghanistan, which will bleed rapidly into Pakistan when the time is ripe and lead to a probably-nuclear problem with India. That will then sweep all the way through the Pacific Rim up to but not including Japan. I hadn’t wanted to expose the idea this soon in V.V., but, well, life is what happens while you’re making plans to do something else, so I present it, with misgivings …not because it’s untenable but because it’s only a hunch and extrapolation from current and past events, a result of conspiracy research of past models and future-trending events.
Engdahl gave a brief Peak Oil back history, by the way, and it accords perfectly with what a few, myself among them, have been accusing all along: “Peak Oil theory is based on a 1956 paper done by the late Marion King Hubbert, a Texas geologist working for Shell Oil”. Hubbert created that infamous bell curve of oil rate so beloved of Thom Hartmann, the model that predicted “inevitable decline”. As Engdahl put it, “A modest man, [Hubbert] named the production curve he invented: Hubbert’s Curve, and the peak as Hubbert’s Peak”, silently chuckling, noting something reflective of the egotistical self-promotion (branding) one finds so virally in capitalism and radio: The Randi Rhodes Show, The Thom Hartmann Show, etc. (whereas, on the True Left, the ego is absented – Roy Tuckman and Don Bustani, for instance, do not name their shows after themselves).
“When US oil output began to decline…around 1970, Hubbert gained a certain fame”, says Engdahl, but there was a niggling little problem: “it peaked not because of resource depletion in the US fields” but “because Shell, Mobil, Texaco and the other partners of Saudi Aramco were flooding the US market with dirt cheap Middle East imports, tariff free, at prices so low California and many Texas domestic producers could not compete and were forced to shut their wells in”.
Hey Thom…got that? Hartmann, zombified by charts ‘n chatter, was convinced by Hubbert’s corporation-dictated propaganda (but, oh, he “may have been wrong”!). The Russians, however, were interested in non-corporate science and drilled in a region Western scientists had pronounced as barren: a forbidding slice of Siberia. Ignoring Western hoo-ha, they obtained 11 major fields and 1 gigantic one, a find “of a scale comparable to the Alaska North Slope”.
Heartened, they next traveled to Vietnam in the 1980s and financed drilling costs to show their theory worked. This brought them into alliance with Vietnam’s White Tiger oilfield, and the Russian applications soon yielded 6,000 barrels a day, to Vietnam’s immense relief and pleasure. This was when the West, with key people now well aware of the reality of matters, began to recruit apparatchiks like the cultily worshipped Michael Ruppert…um, the same Michael Ruppert who not long ago absented himself from the public eye under increasing pressure regarding his unusual connections with the CIA from his LAPD days, connections that first resulted in the From The Wilderness website, then the bestseller Beyond the Rubicon (which Hartmann took fondly to uncritically), and then, as everything he’d ever written came under fire, flight.
NEXT: Part 2…and then, finally, my exploration of the Mohawk Valley Formula, the whole story, from its Franco-British historical imperial origins to this very moment and the Philip K. Dickian / Orwellian world we live in. An analysis of Edward Bernays will form the second half of the bulk of the installments.
[For more on ‘Peak Oil’, see the following, all by yours truly:
Out Damn Spot – Oil Prices that is!. The Ed]